Gum disease is a very common oral health issue; it involves the inflammation and infection of the gum tissues, but can have significant negative impacts on the teeth, bones, and more.
Fortunately, non-surgical gum therapy is an effective method of gum disease treatment in the earlier stages of this condition, and management of it in more advanced stages.
Progression of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by bacteria-containing plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and beneath the gum line. This inflames and irritates the gums, leading to diseased, or infected, tissue.
Gum disease is a progressive condition that starts with gingivitis, a milder form characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis is curable if treated early enough, but if it isn't addressed promptly, it can progress to periodontitis. Although it is possible to treat periodontal disease to manage the condition and prevent further damage, these advanced stages of periodontal disease cannot be cured.
At an advanced stage, periodontal disease affects the ability of the gums to support the teeth, and impacts the supporting jaw bone, resulting in significant oral health issues.
Concerns Related to Gum Disease
As gum disease progresses, the inflammation and infection leads to receding gums, so tooth roots are exposed and the teeth are not adequately supported. This makes the teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and exposes more of the teeth surfaces to potential decay.
The infection can start to affect the underlying bone, as well, causing bone loss. As the teeth are no longer supported properly, they can become loose and eventually fall out.
Pockets of pus, or abscesses, can form around the teeth and gums in severe cases of gum disease. These abscesses can be very painful and may require drainage and antibiotic treatment.
The bacteria in the mouth due to gum disease can lead to persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis.
Research indicates there may be a link between gum disease and general health concerns, such as cardiovascular and heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. This may be due to the infection and bacteria associated with gum disease.
Many people with severe gum disease also have aesthetic concerns related to their gum recession.
Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment
There are a few different non-surgical periodontal treatment options. Developing a treatment plan will begin with a full diagnosis of the issue.
Before beginning gum disease treatment, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination, including measuring the depth of gum pockets and degree of gum recession. X-rays and other imaging and testing will also be done to evaluate the condition of the supporting bone.
Root planing, scaling, and laser gum therapy are three common treatments used to address gum disease. These procedures aim to eliminate the infection, reduce inflammation, and promote gum tissue healing.
Scaling, root planing and laser therapy effectively reduce the bacteria in the mouth, controlling the infection. This, in turn, helps to reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of gum disease, avoiding further damage caused by the disease, such as pocket formation and gum recession.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are minimally invasive procedures and are highly effective methods for treating gum disease. They are typically the first lines of defense against gum disease and aim to eliminate the bacterial plaque and tartar buildup responsible for the condition. This therapy is typically performed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Scaling involves the careful removal of plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth surfaces, both above and below the gumline, using specialized instruments. This helps eliminate the source of infection and prevents its progression.
Root planing, on the other hand, involves smoothing the rough surfaces of the tooth roots. Root planing ensures no harmful bacteria remains on tooth surfaces, both above and below the gumline. This step helps prevent bacteria from reattaching to these surfaces and encourages the gums to reattach to the tooth roots, reducing the depth of gum pockets.
Laser Gum Disease Treatment
In contrast, laser gum therapy involves the use of a laser to target and remove infected gum tissue and bacteria while stimulating the tissue for healthier gums. Laser therapy offers several advantages over surgical treatments, including less discomfort and bleeding, with faster healing.
In some cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed, or a topical antibiotic may be applied to the gums to further eliminate bacteria and promote healing.
Ongoing Maintenance and Management of Gum Disease
With more severe gum disease, ongoing management of the condition is essential to avoid further progression of the condition.
After the initial non-surgical gum therapy, it's critical to maintain excellent oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and more frequent dental check-ups and professional cleanings.
Benefits of Non-Surgical Gum Therapy
Non-surgical gum therapy offers several advantages for gum disease treatment.
When performed correctly and followed by good oral hygiene practices, non-surgical gum therapy is highly effective in halting the progression of gum disease and promoting gum tissue healing.
Unlike surgical procedures, scaling, root planing, laser therapy, and antibiotic treatments do not have the recovery period associated with incisions and surgical sites. This makes it a less invasive option for patients, especially for ones who may have impaired wound healing due to medical conditions.
By addressing gum disease earlier on, successful outcomes are more likely, and it is possible to prevent tooth loss and the need for more extensive dental procedures and surgery, such as gum grafting.
Get Your Gums Checked Today
Gum disease is a widespread, significant oral health concern that can have serious consequences if not treated. The complications and oral health issues related to gum disease make its early detection and treatment essential.
Non-surgical gum therapy offers an effective, minimally-invasive approach to combatting gum disease, preserving your teeth, and improving your oral health. Regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and early intervention are key to preventing the progression of gum disease and its associated complications.
The Toronto Smile Centre dental professional team is here to answer your questions about your gum health, and help you maintain healthy gums through preventive dental cleanings or treat and manage your gum disease. Contact us today to get your teeth and gums checked.